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Soil Tech Note 1A- Soil Health Guiding Principles

Soil Health Guiding Principles

1. All soils can be made healthier!!

2. All soils have physical, chemical and biological properties!! To improve soil health, SOMETHING in these properties MUST change in a positive way!!

3. Landowner MUST know his soil properties today, if he is going to judge soil health improvement tomorrow!

4. Examine top 1 to 2 feet to check organic matter, structure, roots, microorganisms, residue content, etc.

5. All soils are made up of mineral matter, organic matter, air, and water. Four pieces of a soil pie! Management can influence the organic matter, air, and water pieces! Be careful!

6. Soils are in a constant state of Dynamic Equilibrium! They change constantly but at a very slow rate! They are highly buffered, good or bad, and require time to produce noticeable effects of soil health efforts! Patience!

7. Soil Health Management Systems are the long-term remedies for improving soil health!

8. Diversify soil biological community, manage more by disturbing soil less, keep living root on fields longer, and keep soil covered as much as possible! Can’t go wrong!!

9. Evaluation of current farming operation is essential to finding long-term solutions to soil health. What can I or should I change to benefit my soils?

10. Read, study, ask questions, visit field sites to determine what changes best fit your farming operation and your mind set. Don’t be misled by claims that are hard to believe!

11. “Baby steps” to soil health can be used to gradually work toward soil improvement!

12. Great long term improvement in soil health: Add Organic Matter or keep what you have!!

13. Soil Health = Long Term Soil SUSTAINABILITY!!